Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals offense is heating up in the dead of winter. Friday night's 74-52 win over the Rocori Spartans marked the fifth time in the last seven games the Cardinals reached or exceeding 70 points. Not bad for a squad whose reputation is blue-collar defense. "Typically, we're known for being toughest on defense," said coach Brad Atchison. "We've successfully turned it up offensively (since the holidays). We're seeing the floor and passing the ball very unselfishly." The Cardinals shared enough for 20 assists helping five players reach double figures.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals seem to have found their groove again. The Cardinals crushed St. Cloud Apollo 70-46 on Thursday night to improve to 6-2 in the Central Lakes Conference and 12-3 overall. Taylor Filipek finished with a season-high 31 points. The senior forward had 21 points by halftime. He drained two 3-pointers each half and converted a steal to a dunk early in the second half.
The decision came with some anguish, but Jeff Winter has decided to relinquish the reins of Cardinal girls soccer to become boys head coach. He replaces Richard Courtney, who resigned after seven seasons, including the school's first state soccer tournament appearance in 2008. Winter, a middle school guidance counselor, has been head coach the past three years and has been with the program for six years.
It could have had a tragic outcome, but only a snowmobile was destroyed and a bus load of basketball players were delayed getting home Friday night. The school bus carrying the Cardinals girls home after beating St.
The new adult hockey league at the Willmar Civic Center was long overdue. Six teams are on ice each Wednesday night at the main Cardinal Arena. Enthusiasm radiates the rink. Rosters bulge with 17 to 19 players. It's a co-ed league, too.
WILLMAR - Two teams put on a show to justify their lofty rankings on Saturday afternoon at the high school. In a mild upset, Bemidji (9-1), ranked No. 6 in Class AAA, handed No. 4 Willmar its first loss 70-64 in non-conference girls basketball. The game was tied seven times, the last at 57-57. The final six-point gap reflected four Lumberjack free throws as Willmar was forced to foul. "I think that's the best we've played," said Bemidji junior forward Kayla Hirt, who scored 24 points, including a pair of three-pointers at crunch time.
WILLMAR -- In workmanlike fashion the Willmar Cardinals nailed down their 10th win without a loss, hammering Alexandria 61-44 on Saturday evening. Willmar takes a 5-0 Central Lakes record to St. Cloud Tech (5-0, 10-0) on Tuesday. Rocori is also 5-0 in the CLC, creating a three-way jam at the top. Willmar led the visiting Cardinals (2-3, 5-3) 37-24 at intermission.